Macerich Faces Pressure After Spurned Simon Takeover Bid

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Land & Buildings Investment Management is teaming with fellow activist firm Orange Capital to push for changes at Macerich Co., the mall owner that rejected a $16.8 billion takeover bid from Simon Property Group Inc.

Land & Buildings, run by Jonathan Litt, released letters to Macerich Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Art Coppola criticizing the company’s moves to adopt a shareholder rights plan and stagger its board after the Simon bid. The investors want to nominate their own candidates to the real estate investment trust’s board, according to a statement Wednesday.

“You have gravely underestimated the damage you have done to Macerich by re-staggering your board, adopting a poison pill and now actively seeking to block shareholders’ voices from being heard at the annual meeting by litigating with us on the validity of our nominations,” Litt wrote in a letter to Coppola dated Wednesday that was included in the statement.

Simon, the largest U.S. mall landlord, withdrew its proposal to acquire Macerich on March 31 after the Santa Monica, California-based REIT refused to engage in talks. Macerich said in a statement at the time that the $95.50-a-share offer didn’t reflect the company’s full value.

Shares of Macerich rose 1.5 percent to $82.30 on Wednesday. The stock has tumbled from a high of $94.89 on March 16, the day before the company adopted its takeover defenses.

Lawsuit Filing

Land & Buildings said in the statement that it would pursue litigation to counter Macerich’s attempts to stop its board nominees. The company sued Macerich and its board members Tuesday in state court in Baltimore, according to court records. A copy of the complaint wasn’t immediately available.

Andrew Siegel, a spokesman for Macerich with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, declined to comment.

Orange Capital and Land & Buildings are relatively small investors in Macerich, with each owning stakes of less than 1 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. Litt’s firm is already fighting proxy battles at casino operator MGM Resorts International and Associated Estates Realty Corp., an apartment landlord.

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